Night Light-Ice Cloud


Remember when days were much simpler and you could lay out on the grass without fear of chiggers and watch the clouds go by? Remember the white dragons and white, fluffy bunny rabbits floating across the sky? Remember when the only care in the world was seeing who could find the most unique shapes first?

I do. It’s something I haven’t done for a long time. Not since I was a kid. Well there was a few weeks ago when I thought I’d give it a try. See if it was as peaceful as I remembered. I laid on my back, all of twenty minutes, and waited. My knight in shining armor never road across the sky that day. In fact, I didn’t even see a tiny puff of a cotton ball. Ever since I’ve been looking whenever I get a chance, but I still haven’t found a recognizable object. Makes me wonder if my cloudination has flown the coop. I sure hope not since it’s one of my favorite past-times.

My husband is always telling me to get my head out of the clouds. And not so much for the normal reasons. I love looking them and studying their formations. Does that mean I know a whole lot about clouds? Not necessarily. I more of an inactive observationist, if you know what I mean.

However, I’m going to give it a try right along with Betty and Jennifer. During the month of June we’re going to cover different types of clouds.

First, I want to review a basic concept. If you remember from your physical science there are several layers to Earth’s atmosphere.

Exosphere– 600 and up
Thermosphere–85-600 km
Mesosphere–50-85 km
Stratosphere–12-50 km
Troposphere–0-12 km

The height of the troposphere is a little over 6 miles or around 30,000 feet. The next time you look up and see an airliner flying across the sky take note of how high it looks and then realize that the airliner is flying within the troposphere. The troposphere is where most clouds form. Occasionally, clouds will form in the stratosphere and the mesosphere.

The three bottom layers, the meso, strato, and tropo are known together as the homosphere.

A type of cloud that forms in the mesosphere is one we’re all very familiar with. They’re usually the clouds we admire most as God’s beautiful artwork. Noctilucent. If you know your latin roots you may recognize this as night light. Noctilucent clouds are most common as the sun is rising or setting.

These illuminated beauties are also known as ice clouds. That’s because the temperature is so cold (sometimes -150F) in the mesosphere  that the water vapor freezes. I imagine since the sun isn’t directly above the frozen particles it doesn’t thaw out as quickly leaving an otherworldly painting that could only be created by the hand of God.

The picture to the left shows several types of clouds but the high thin streaks are the closest example I could find in my photos.


Instead or giving you a writing prompt, I’ve decided to let my pictures speak for themselves. Chose one and make it worth a thousand words.

Speaking of prompts, I suppose you’re all wondering who won the prompt contest. Each entry was unique and well done, but there is one that we were in complete agreement that stood out above the rest.

And the winner is . . . Jennifer Slattery! Jennifer please email me your email and I’ll get your gift certificate to you.

Thank you to everyone for participating. It was a lot of fun and we loved seeing your creativity.

5 thoughts on “Night Light-Ice Cloud

  1. Great post on clouds Christina! And congrats Jennifer Slattery. Each story submitted had its merit and it definitely was a hard decision. I think all the stories have novel, novella potentional. Hmmm…let us know if any of these mini works of art grows into a book 🙂

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